Missing California Sisters Survived 44 Hours in Woods By Drinking Water from Huckleberry Leaves

March 5, 2019 Updated: March 5, 2019

Two sensible young sisters have their survival skills to thank for braving 44 hours in the Northern California wilderness. Caroline Carrico, 5, and Leia Carrico, 8, learned basic survival skills at their local 4-H club: the 4 Hs in the club’s name stand for “head, heart, hands, and health,” and the girls certainly used the first three to ensure the fourth on their recent adventure.

Their combined knowledge of how to take care of themselves in the great outdoors is what gives this story its phenomenal, happy ending.

Nai-post ni Humboldt County Sheriff's Office noong Sabado, Marso 2, 2019

The sisters were found “in good spirits” and completely unharmed approximately 1.4 miles south of Benbow, northwest California, where they live. Two firefighters found the girls at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 3, 2019, two days after they went missing, by following a trail of footprints and discarded granola bar wrappers.

Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal commented: “This is an absolute miracle. This is rugged territory, this is an extreme environment. How they were out there for 44 hours is pretty amazing.” Delbert Chumley and Abram Hill from the Piercy Volunteer Fire Department first saw boot prints on the ground at 8:30 a.m. on the morning of the girls’ return. They followed the prints to Richardson Grove State Park, shouted for the girls, and listened. The girls called back.

Nai-post ni Misty Carrico noong Huwebes, Hulyo 21, 2016

“The sisters were evaluated by medical personnel for dehydration and given water and warm, dry clothing,” reported the sheriff’s office. “The girls were located huddled together under a bush.”

In a display of common sense and maturity that would make any 4-H club leader proud, the girls remembered the survival skills they had learned and put them to good use: they stayed in one place, maximizing the chances of being found, and they drank fresh water from Huckleberry leaves to stay hydrated.

Video of when missing Benbow girls were reunited with their family

This is video from Brianna Finney of the missing Benbow girls when they were reunited with their family Sunday morning near Richardson Grove State ParkBrianna told Redwood News she is thankful for the community, first responders and the local businesses that contributed such as the Meadows Cafe, Ray's Food Place, and Amelia’s.

Nai-post ni Redwood News noong Linggo, Marso 3, 2019

The girls’ mother, Misty Carrico, noticed her daughters were gone about 30 minutes after they asked to go for a walk. Misty had told them “no.” The intrepid sisters informed family members later that they were following a deer trail when they went off course and found themselves lost. But rather than panic, the girls utilized their excellent survival skills, rationed their food, located drinkable water, and kept themselves safe from harm.

They were brought home to their family soon after the firefighters found them; the sheriff’s office released photos of the happy, emotional reunion. Caroline Carrico was snapped in her pink rubber boots, dirty jeans, and a woollen cap, speaking to the firefighters who found her and looking every bit the capable wilderness explorer. The photo has been widely circulated online in celebration of the girls’ safe return.

#searchandrescue #update Leia and Caroline Carrico found alive and well by a Piercy Volunteer Fire search team…

Nai-post ni Humboldt County Sheriff's Office noong Linggo, Marso 3, 2019

Caroline and Leia were taken to hospital to be thoroughly assessed, and were given a clean bill of health. The girls’ mother shared a photo of her unshakeable daughters eating pizza and drinking soda in their hospital bed. We’re willing to bet the girls enjoyed the taste of soda over water from Huckleberry leaves!

Lt. Mike Fridley, however, hails the granola bar wrappers as the true heroes of the hour—second to the girls, of course: “The wrappers showed us a direction from where they started to where the wrappers ended,” he said. Fridley was also the man who called Caroline and Leia’s mother to tell her that her courageous daughters were safe.

Nai-post ni Misty Carrico noong Huwebes, Setyembre 28, 2017

Seeing a photo of the girls posted by the sheriff’s office, one reader commented: “Those little adventurers will sure have a story to tell!”

United by sisterhood and a treasury of survival skills, they certainly will!

Celebrate survival skills and the young girls’ safe return to their family—share this extraordinary story with friends, family, and loved ones!